Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni cites importance of masks amid COVID-19 pandemic

Mike D'Antoni Houston Rockets (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mike D'Antoni Houston Rockets (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni emphasizes the importance of wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

The novel coronavirus has essentially ruined 2020, as our lives have been much different than ever before. We’ve seen bunches of athletes and/or celebrities test positive for the COVID-19, including Houston Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook.

The virus has kept us sheltered more than ever before, and especially during the summer, which is coming to a close, although it feels like it never started. Weddings, graduations, and vacations have all been either canceled or rescheduled, and most states have already had some sort of stay-at-home order.

The United States has seen a resurgence in cases, as predicted, although it’s taken place much sooner than anticipated. The latest data suggests that the U.S. has had 4.04 million positive cases, and more than 140,000 deaths, which are more than originally anticipated.

But there’s a role we all play in flattening the curve, which is as simple as covering our noses and mouths with a mask, to prevent the spread and inhaling of germs. On Wednesday, Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni emphasized the importance of wearing the masks, while appearing on The Matt Thomas Show on SportsTalk 790.

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Rockets’ D’Antoni cites importance of masks during COVID-19 pandemic

“We’re in trouble right now because we haven’t been wearing a mask. If we wear a mask, then everybody is safe to work and we can get this thing done. Obviously we have a platform, that’s one, and two, I want to keep my players safe and the best of my coaches. You do it because it’s the right thing to do, and we’ll definitely be doing it.”

The NBA initially struggled to concoct a strategy that would’ve allowed the 2019-20 season to resume. The league eventually devised the plan of finishing the season in a campus-like environment, with Orlando as the agreed-upon destination.

The bubble has been viewed as one of the safest places to be amidst the pandemic, as the players and coaches are tested daily. D’Antoni outlined the conditions in Orlando, while explaining what’s made the campus so safe.

“Just to get here you’ve already tested negative two or three times, I’d say probably about seven times, but two days in a row for sure. And then once you arrive, you’re being quarantined and you’re tested another two or three times over two days, so that’s like four days of four tests.

Some guys got a positive, especially when they first got here. But after that, once you’re in here and it’s controlled and you’re adjusting everyday, it shouldn’t get in here. Most people are very responsible and know how important it is to pull this off in a safe manner. Most people are definitely going by the protocols, a mask and distancing and sanitizing everything. It’s too important for some knuckleheads to mess it up.”

The league re-launched a second training camp two weeks ago and kicked off their version of the preseason on Wednesday with a series of scrimmages, which were the players’ first chance at facing opponents. The Houston Rockets’ preseason is set to officially kick off on Friday, as they face the defending champion Toronto Raptors in a scrimmage..

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The regular season is officially slated to resume next week, with eight remaining regular season games before the start of the playoffs. There have been questions regarding whether the 2019-20 season will result in a champion being crowned, but D’Antoni paints a picture of the players/coaches being responsible and practicing safe measures in Orlando, which will certainly be the key to the league’s restart being successful.